Nigerian basket of films is filling regularly with new content, especially at the global level on Netflix. The latest to join the party is The Black Book.
It’s a crime actioner that runs for two hours.
At its core, the film explores the age-old theme of the powerful oppressing the powerless, which ultimately awakens the protagonist’s dormant instincts.
While such themes are familiar territory within the action genre, does The Black Book manage to deliver a distinctive and captivating experience?
Continue reading to uncover the answer.
The Black Book Movie Synopsis
When his son is framed in a popular kidnapping case, a grieving father breaks his shell to deliver justice.
In the quest, he comes across familiar faces who then take him to his past misdeeds.
Directed by Editi Effiong, The Black Book stars Richard Mofe-Damijo (Paul Edima), Ade Laoye (Vic), Sam Dede (Angel), Alex Usifo Omiagbo (General Issa), Olumide Oworu (Damilola Edima), etc.
What Works for The Black Book?
In a world where justice appears out of reach, the only recourse is to take matters into your own hands—a sentiment that succinctly encapsulates the essence of The Black Book.
The film squarely meets the expectations of the action genre, introducing us to a protagonist leading a quiet life until tragedy forcefully barges through his door.
From that moment onward, a turbulent transformation takes center stage. The brilliance of this African production lies in its emotional depth.
The Black Book successfully elicits empathy for its lead character, making you yearn for his evolution as scripted.
Admittedly, the storyline follows a somewhat clichéd trajectory, yet it remains effective due to the skilled execution by the filmmakers.
What truly stands out are the action sequences, grounded in reality without resorting to extravagant theatrics.
While the absence of dual combats might leave some wanting more, the film compensates with sufficiently satisfying skirmishes.
Additionally, The Black Book boasts an aggressive screenplay shrouded in a somber atmosphere of calamitous events.
Its pacing aligns perfectly with the demands of an action-adventure, ensuring that monotony never creeps in.
In comparison to previous African cinematic endeavors like Far From Home and The Brave Ones, The Black Book exudes a refined polish that elevates its appeal.
How are the Performances?
Richard Mofe-Damijo plays Paul Edima, the veteran poster boy of The Black Book. He is sharp, gritty, and a bit ruthless, too.
His style of action is what I liked the most about Damijo. You could watch him all day effortlessly punching goons and breaking their bones.
Also, the actor surrenders to the feelings of Paul Edima, the father. Many action heroes are not subtle with their sentimental side but Richard aces that part pretty well.
Ade Laoye as Vic delivers what is asked of her. Maybe, the writing lets her down but overall, she is an endearing actor to watch on the screen.
What Doesn’t Work for The Black Book?
Some technicalities are off, including transitional flickers, consistency in shot maintenance, and smooth push to the scenes.
They are very numb in nature and might go unnoticed by the naked eye.
Moreover, I would have loved to see Edima’s backstory running alongside the present-day narrative. Keeping it all for late didn’t hit the right chord.
And also, the relationship angle is a bit off. They have chosen to just touch the floor of human connections when they had the entire room to themselves.
Furthermore, the second half of The Black Book has its moments, with the plot falling into place satisfactorily.
However, when compared to the captivating first hour, it somewhat takes a backseat.
Is The Black Book a Worthy Watch?
Yes, it is a movie you should stream. Its storyline is the biggest strength of The Black Book.